rossb, I am a big Kuzma fan but in this case I do think the Avid Acutus is a step up because it is fully isolated. I absolutely agree with keeping the 4 point and don't forget to get the dust cover!
In my opinion, and while I do like and admire the design of the Avid turntables, the Acutus would at best be a sideways step away from your Kuzma, which is also a great turntable. I think you'd have to spend significantly more money to experience an epiphany compared to what you experience with the Kuzma. But if you just want change for the sake of change, sure.
Examples, in my opinion, of significant upgrades: Doehmann Helix turntable with built in Minus K suspension (IHelix I or Helix 2) or the big Kronos turntable with counter-rotating platters. Both cost over $25,000. Probably one of the lesser Air Force turntables (meaning under $50K) might also qualify.
Thanks for the responses.
Mike, have you heard the Acutus and can you comment on how its presentation differs from the Kuzma?
lewm, I'm sure you are right that I would have to spend significantly more to get a genuine upgrade on the Kuzma, rather than just a different flavour. The three you mention are way out of budget - the Acutus would be the upper limit financially. But I don't necessarily need "better" - the Kuzma is certainly good enough - but would like to try something with a bit more character and a bit less accuracy.
If you're not anti VPI, I would try and get a listen to the HW40.
Why not a change in cart? So many to choose from.
I've had a listen to the Actus, very nice. Too many cool tables in the $15-20K range. I always wondered though at this level, isn't the choice in cart and phonostage what makes the "wow" factor?
Thanks for the suggestion, but I suspect a VPI turntable would be too similar to what I have.
I have also been through a lot of cartridges over the last few years - Lyra Delos and Etna SL, Phasemation PP1000, VDH Black Beauty, Grasshopper and Colibri, Benz Ruby and LPS and one or two others. The DV XV-1S is my favourite so far, and I have sold the others (although I regret selling the Black Beauty, which I also loved).
Ross, when you get up to turntables this good there are only going to be minor sonic differences given the same tonearm and cartridge, even moving up to one of the AF tables. Now because the Avid is really suspended (the ref is not) it will be better isolated from everything else going on in the room, foot falls, vibration etc. Only vibration below 4.5 Hz is going to get through. This will certainly improve the experience. I only use fully suspended turntables. I personally prefer the SOTA Cosmos because it has vacuum hold down, a magnetic bearing, a DC motor a very nice integrated and hinged dust cover and a great suspension. Get it in an exotic wood like Ebony and it is not so plain Jane looking.
Lewm, I hate to be vivid (right) but the Kronos turntable is a bad joke. The very last thing you want in a turntable is more moving parts because it can only equal more noise and more expense. It is filigree for filigree's sake. It is unfortunate that many of us care more about what a turntable looks like than what it sounds like. Then we make the mistake of thinking a good looking turntable sounds better because it looks good. Rubbish. The AF Zero may cost $450K but at least it comes by it honestly.
I spent some time listening to the Kuzma last night and it really is a fantastic turntable. I'm starting to agree with the comments that it would be virtually impossible to improve on it without spending ridiculous amounts of money, and the turntables I have been considering are almost certainly not upgrades.
On further thought, I will keep the Kuzma and possibly add another - cheaper! - turntable/arm with a totally different character, such as a PTP Solid with maybe an Audiomods arm and a good MM cartridge.
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.